Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government
This Written Statement updates Members on the development of regulations relating to the Subsidy Control Act 2022.
On 17 October 2022 the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shared an update on the four Statutory Instruments accompanying the Subsidy Control Act 2022 yet to be laid before Parliament. As part of this update BEIS shared the final draft of the ‘The Subsidy Control (Subsidy Database Information Requirements) Regulations 2022’.
These regulations outline the information on subsidy schemes and applicable awards which must be made public on the UK subsidy transparency database, as well as further rules in relation to the publication of information on applicable Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA), Services of Public Economic Interest (SPEI) Assistance and tax schemes, and how modification of awards and schemes should be approached.
I have considered the need to lay a statutory instrument consent memorandum and have determined that this draft regulation does not engage either Standing Orders 30A or 30B. Nevertheless, these Regulations will significantly impact upon the devolved area of economic development as the requirements around transparency reporting are more onerous than those within the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and under other international obligations. These Regulations also shorten the time window for publication in a compliant manner, increasing the reporting burden placed upon public authorities beyond that required by either the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement or the EU State aid rules. This will significantly affect resourcing and grant processes, placing additional burden on Welsh public authorities in the process of awarding efficient and effective subsidies that support the economic development of Wales.
Further, the enabling power in s34 of the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (which was Clause 33 during the Bill process) was one of the provisions subject to the Legislative Consent Motion of July 2021 where the Senedd refused consent as “the provisions impact the devolved area of economic development and functions are imposed on Devolved Welsh Authorities in relation to subsidies.” I therefore felt it appropriate to bring this matter to the attention of the Senedd.